Sores in your mouth breed discomfort and can interfere with certain routine activities. One such breed is the canker sore on tongue. Here, we describe the causes, symptoms, treatments, and ways to prevent or reduce the risk of getting one. Your lifestyle habits and food choices play major roles in the chance that canker sores will develop and reoccur, so use our article as a guide to the dos and don’ts when dealing with a canker sore on tongue.
What Are Canker Sores?
Unlike cold sores, which primarily appear on lips, canker sores occupy the insides of your mouth such as the tongue. As such, in contrast with cold sores, canker sores are generally not contagious. A canker sore presents as a small, shallow lesion or ulcer. As explained more fully under the listing of symptoms, these sores are usually either round or oval.
Typically, mild manifestations last up to two weeks. In a more severe form, a sore has as much as a six-week life. Whatever the duration, canker sores generate irritation and pain that interferes with speaking and eating.
What Causes Canker Sores on Tongue?
Canker sores do not have a known specific cause. However, there exist a number of suspects which can trigger these ulcers:
- Mouth Trauma: You might trigger canker sores if you brush your teeth too hard or too rigorously. An impact from sports or other activities, and accidentally biting your cheek or dental work can also constitute mouth trauma.
- Foods: Deficiencies in vitamin B12, zinc folic acid, or iron can also create these sores. Those who suffer from them may also be particularly sensitive to chocolate, coffee, strawberry, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic foods.
- Bacteria and Viruses: A number of bacteria and viruses could potentially be responsible for canker sore outbreaks. These include the Helicobacter pylori, which causes peptic ulcers. Remember that a canker sore is itself an ulcer. In some cases, a canker sore may signal the presence of herpes simplex, herpes zoster, otherwise known as shingles, or other viral infections.
- Diseases: Having a canker sore may come as part of certain diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis or inflammation of the Bell. In Celiac disease, you suffer from sensitivity to a protein called gluten, which is generally found in most grains. Those infected with the HIV virus or Aids are susceptible to canker sores. Such lesions can also be signs of cancer.
- Inner-Body Imbalances: Stress can weaken your immune system, which can trigger a canker sore. Hormonal imbalances also constitute potential causes.
Canker Sore on Tongue Symptoms
A canker sore on tongue appears as a round or oval small area with a white or yellow center surrounded by a red border. At the onset of the episode, you may sense tingling or burning on the tongue. This normally happens no more than two days before the sore fully develops.
These specific symptoms often depend upon the severity of the canker sore. In minor manifestations, the sores are typically small and last between 1 to 2 weeks, healing without any scars. Major sores have more size and depth, or are round and have delineating borders. You will have more pain and potentially more scaring, with healing not occurring for up to 6 weeks.
The herpetiform version typically has the size of a pinpoint and irregular edges. These are rare versions, not likely to develop until later years in life, and appearing in clusters containing as little as 10 and as much as 100 sores.
Canker Sore on Tongue Remedy Options
- Antiseptics: Orajel, peroxyl, cankaid, and hydrogen peroxide are antiseptics that can provide relief from or remove canker sores. These cleaning agents rely upon the forming of oxygen in the sore area, to loosen the matter and clean the area.
- Protective Coatings: Zilactin and Orabase represent examples of emoluments, which are substances that coat the area of the sores. You would employ these measures to keep salts, acids, spices, and food, or increasing or decreasing temperatures from attacking the nerves in the sore. You may have to use these several times, since they wear off fairly quickly.
- Anesthetics: Anesthetics eliminate the sensations, including pain, that come with sores. Agents in this family such as Benzocaine tell the brain or nervous system to stop responding to stimulation of nerves. This is the theory behind anesthesia used in surgery.
- Mouth Rinse: Dexamethasone is a prescription mouthwash that alleviates pain and inflammation characteristic of canker sores. Pain relief also comes via lidocaine.
- Home Remedies: Things in your cupboard or bathroom cabinets can also provide relief. Tums or Rolaids neutralize the acid that makes contact canker sores, as well as the acid that can cause you heartburn. Using milk of magnesium itself can also neutralize acid. Antacid tablets such as Tums or Rolaids contain milk of magnesium. Five minutes of a wet tea bag on your canker sore neutralizes acid. The tannic acid that comes in tea bags can also suppress inflammation.
How to Prevent a Canker Sore on Tongue
Reducing your chances of developing canker sores involves adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your mouth.
- Diet: Sources of Vitamin B12 include salmon, trout, low-fat milk chicken breast, tuna, and beef. Consider foods that have zinc and iron as well. If you have had this in the past, avoid nuts, chips, pretzels, and foods with high content of salt. To reduce acids, you might exclude pineapple, grapefruit, and oranges.
- Stress Reduction: Consider meditation, quiet time, or other methods to reduce stress. Adequate sleep can afford you sufficient rest, alertness, and energy to counteract stress.
- Dental: A canker sore stands less of a chance of development if you have a mouth generally free of lingering triggers. This means you should brush and floss your teeth daily. Furthermore, be gentle when you’re brushing and stay away from toothpaste and mouthwash rinses with sodium lauryl sulfate. The sodium based ingredients can trigger the canker sores.
With a properly balanced diet, exercise, sleep, oral care, and time spent for breaks, you can reduce the risk of getting canker sores. If you experience or have a history of these sores, consider foregoing spices, acids, and salts. The remedies highlighted here can afford you some relief. Please share with us and others whether these tips have helped you, or whether you have other suggestions of canker sore remedies.